Monday, July 19, 2010

New Images of Lightning

Strike by Paul Hood

Say Your Prayers by Paul Hood


Just shot these last night. I managed to get more strikes but haven't edited any of those shots. It was both easier and harder than I thought to get these. I thought longer exposures would be better, but not really, only to a point. I think one of these is a ten-second exposure. When the exposure is too long, the lightning strikes just don't register, much like doing a 30 second exposure and walking through the frame-- you'll find yourself invisible in the final shot. Lightning is bright so it registers better than that, but it's extremely brief in duration, so balancing exposure and aperture to hit "just right" is important. Too short of an exposure and you're simply unlikely to have the reflexes necessary to trip the shutter at exactly the right time. Too long means your aperture is small, and the lightning is too brief to register-- even though you might get multiple lightning strikes in a single exposure, it does no good if you can't see them. Through some quick trial and error I got some acceptable shots in the 8 to 10 second range with my camera resting on a handrail, but next time: tripod. If I remember right I was shooting aperture priority with the exposure compensation at -1 stop with aperture in the f10 range or so. Elsewhere I have read advice to use larger apertures and a cable shutter release set for manual "bulb" exposure: the idea being to trip the shutter open as soon as you see a strike and then close the shutter as soon as the strike or strikes are over. I just didn't take the time to try that.

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